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- Assessment of the efficacy of a constructed wetland to reduce or remove wastewater effluent estrogenicity and toxicity using biomarkers in male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas Rafinesque, 1820).
- Vitellogenin in Pimephales promelas was used to assess estrogenicity of a local municipal effluent. Vitellogenin induction in male P. promelas increased in frequency and magnitude with increased exposure duration and was greater ("=0.05) than controls after 2 and 3 weeks of exposure. The level of vitellogenesis induced by effluent exposure was high compared to similar studies. A spring season evaluation followed. Biomarkers in P. promelas were used to assess the efficacy of a treatment wetland to remove toxicity and estrogenicity in final treated wastewater effluent. Comparisons were made with an effluent dominated stream and laboratory controls. Vitellogenin, GSIs (gonado-somatic indices), HSIs (hepato-somatic indices) and secondary sexual characteristics were biomarkers used in P. promelas models to assess aqueous estrogenicity. Biological indicators used to assess general fish health included hematocrit and condition factors. The estrogenic nature of the effluent was screened, concurrent with fish exposure, with GC/MS analysis for target estrogenic compounds including: 17-b estradiol, estrone, ethynylestradiol, Bisphenol A, nonylphenolic compounds, phthalates, and DDT. Plasma vitellogenin measured in P. promelas was significantly elevated (p < 0.0001) at the inflow site of the wetland and stream sites. GSIs for these exposures were less (a=0.001) at the wetland inflow site. At wetland sites closest to the inflow, secondary sexual charateristics, tubercle numbers and fat pad thickness, were less (a=0.0001). Hematocrit and condition factors were less (a=0.001) at sites closer to the wetland inflow. Seasonal variation was examined by repeating the effluent characterization in summer. Additionally, summer testing included exposure to an effluent dilution series. Fish condition heavily influenced interpretation of the results. Pre-acclimation exposure to spawning stresses may have altered many of the biological markers measured. Results are discussed relative to fish health and pre-exposure environment. Toxicity assessed with P. promelas biomarkers was compared with Ceriodaphnia dubia and Vibrio fischeri toxicty tests on this effluent. Biomarkers of fish health were somewhat less sensitive than C. dubia test endpoints, but more sensitive than V. fisheri.
- An Assessment of the Use of Seeding, Mowing, and Burning in the Restoration of an Oldfield to Tallgrass Prairie in Lewisville, Texas
- An examination of the effectiveness of seeding, burning, and mowing in the reestablishment of tallgrass prairie species on overgrazed and abandoned pastureland. The study site is a 20 acre tract on U.S. Corps of Engineers land below Lake Lewisville in Denton County, Texas. The site was partitioned into thirty-nine 40 by 40 meter plots with seeding (carried out in 1996) and management treatment (burning, mowing, and no maintenance carried out in 1998) randomly applied following a two level design. For each plot, nine stratified-random 0.1 m2 subplots were examined and shoot counts for each species recorded. The effects of the treatments on individual species and species richness were analyzed with a two-way ANOVA followed by a SNK multiple range test, both on ranked data. Community level analysis was conducted with both a MANOVA on ranked data and a Canonical Correspondence Analysis on raw data. Results indicate that seeding positively affected species richness, particularly when combined with either burning or mowing in the early spring. Mowing also significantly increased species richness in areas that were not seeded, while burning negatively affected species richness on unseeded plots. Treatments significantly affected community composition with treatments having the most clear effect on spring and summer forbs.
- Bioaccumulation of triclocarban, triclosan, and methyl-triclosan in a North Texas wastewater treatment plant receiving stream and effects of triclosan on algal lipid synthesis.
- Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC), widely used antimicrobial agents found in numerous consumer products, are incompletely removed by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processing. Methyl-triclosan (M-TCS) is a more lipophilic metabolite of its parent compound, TCS. The focus of this study was to quantify bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for TCS, M-TCS, and TCC in Pecan creek, the receiving stream for the City of Denton, Texas WWTP by using field samples mostly composed of the alga Cladophora sp. and the caged snail Helisoma trivolvis as test species. Additionally, TCS effects on E. coli and Arabidopsis have been shown to reduce fatty acid biosynthesis and total lipid content by inhibiting the trans-2 enoyl- ACP reductase. The lipid synthesis pathway effects of TCS on field samples of Cladophora spp. were also investigated in this study by using [2-14C]acetate radiolabeling procedures. Preliminary results indicate high TCS concentrations are toxic to lipid biosynthesis and reduce [2-14C]acetate incorporation into total lipids. These results have led to the concern that chronic exposure of algae in receiving streams to environmentally relevant TCS concentrations might affect their nutrient value. If consumer growth is limited, trophic cascade strength may be affected and serve to limit population growth and reproduction of herbivores in these riparian systems.
- Bioavailability and toxicity of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in sediment.
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TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) is a persistent contaminant at many military installations and poses a threat to aquatic ecosystems. Data from environmental fate and toxicity studies with TNT revealed that sediment toxicity test procedures required modification to accurately assess sediment TNT toxicity. Key modifications included aging TNT-spiked sediments 8-14 d, basing lethal dose on measured sediment concentrations of the molar sum of TNT and its main nitroaromatic (NA) transformation products (SNA), basing sublethal dose on average sediment SNA concentrations obtained from integration of sediment SNA transformation models, avoiding overlying water exchanges, and minimizing toxicity test durations. Solid phase microextraction fibers (SPMEs) were investigated as a biomimetic chemical measure of toxicity and bioavailability. Both organism and SPME concentrations provided measures of lethal dose independent of exposure scenario (TNT-spiked sediment or TNT-spiked water) for Tubifex tubifex. Among all benthic organisms tested (Chironomus tentans, Ceriodaphnia dubia, T. tubifex) and matrixes, median lethal dose (LC50) estimates based on SPME and organism concentrations ranged from 12.6 to 55.3 mmol SNA/ml polyacrylate and 83.4 to 172.3 nmol SNA/g tissue, ww, respectively. For Tubifex, LC50s (95% CI) based on SNA concentrations in sediment and SPMEs were 223 (209-238) nmol SNA/g, dw and 27.8 (26.0-29.8) mmol SNA/ml, respectively. Reproductive effects occurred at slightly lower exposures. Median effective dose (EC50) estimates (95% CI) for Tubifex cocoon production, based on sediment and SPME concentrations, were 118 (114-122) nmol SNA/g, dw and 21.8 (21.2-22.4) mmol SNA/ml, respectively. Bioconcentration experiments with Tubifex revealed that compound hydrophobicity predicted the toxicokinetics and bioconcentration of these compounds from water, however, there was a large discrepancy between the toxicokinetics of absorbed versus metabolically-generated aminodinitrotoluenes. A large portion of bioconcentrated, radiolabeled TNT transformation products could not be identified. In addition to their ability to provide matrix-independent measures of dose, SPME concentrations were more accurate indicators of bioavailable NAs than were sediment concentrations.
- Characterization of Triclocarban, Methyl- Triclosan, and Triclosan in Water, Sediment, and Corbicula Fluminea (Müller, 1774) Using Laboratory, in Situ, and Field Assessments
- In the last decade emerging contaminants research has intensified in a bid to answer questions about fate, transport, and effects as these chemicals as they get released into the environment. The chemicals of interest were the antimicrobials; triclocarban (TCC) and triclosan (TCS), and a metabolite of triclosan, methyl triclosan (MTCS). This research was designed to answer the question: what is the fate of these chemicals once they are released from the waste water treatment plant into receiving streams. Three different assessment methods; field monitoring, in-situ experiments, and laboratory studies were used to answer the overall question. TCS, TCC, and MTCS levels were measured in surface water, sediment and the Asiatic clam Corbicula fluminea. Field studies were conducted using four sites at Pecan Creek, Denton TX. Levels of all three chemicals in clams were up to fives orders of magnitude the water concentrations but an order of magnitude lower than in sediment. Highest sediment levels of chemicals were measured in samples from the mouth of Pecan Creek (highest organic matter). TCC was the most and TCS was the least accumulated chemicals. In-situ and lab studies both indicated that uptake of these chemicals into the clams was very rapid and measurable within 24hours of exposure. The after clams were transferred into clean water most of the compounds were depurated within 14 days.
- Characterizing Storm Water Runoff from Natural Gas Well Sites in Denton County, Texas
- In order to better understand runoff characteristics from natural gas well sites in north central Texas, the City of Denton, with assistance through an EPA funded 104b3 Water Quality Cooperative Agreement, monitored storm water runoff from local natural gas well sites. Storm water runoff was found to contain high concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS). Observed TSS concentrations resulted in sediment loading rates that are similar to those observed from typical construction activities. Petroleum hydrocarbons, in contrast, were rarely detected in runoff samples. Heavy metals were detected in concentrations similar to those observed in typical urban runoff. However, the concentrations observed at the gas well sites were higher than those measured at nearby reference sites. Storm water runoff data collected from these sites were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the water erosion prediction project (WEPP) model for predicting runoff and sediment from these sites. Runoff and sediment predictions were adequate; however, rainfall simulation experiments were used to further characterize the portion of the site where drilling and extraction operations are performed, referred to as the "pad site." These experiments were used to develop specific pad site erosion parameters for the WEPP model. Finally, version 2 of the revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE 2.0) was used to evaluate the efficiency of best management practices (BMPs) for natural gas well sites. BMP efficiency ratings, which ranged from 52 to 93%, were also evaluated in the context of site management goals and implementation cost, demonstrating a practical approach for managing soil loss and understanding the importance of selecting appropriate site-specific BMPs.
- City of Denton municipal solid waste characterization and management strategies.
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Due to concern about diminishing landfill space, the City of Denton contracted a municipal solid waste characterization study in 1999 that would identify materials for diversion. This paper describes the results of 5 1-week waste sorting events, a scale-house analysis, a recycling participation study, a recycler profile and a similar city study. The results of the characterization studies suggest that at least 50% of each waste stream is recyclable or divertible though paper products accounted for no more than 45% by weight of any waste stream. Curbside recycling participation rate was 71% during the 6-week study period though the average weekly set-out rate was 37%. Recycling participation rates varied significantly by zip code and by home value categories but not by gender. Denton is fairly progressive in its waste management approach when compared to demographically similar cities on a 15-question assessment though recommendations for improvement have been identified.
- Comparison of Bare Root vs. Potted Plants, Species Selection, and Caging Types for Restoration of a Prairie Wetland, and Quantitative Analysis and Descriptive Survey of Plant Communities and Associations at Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA), Lewisville, TX
- Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) is an 809-hectare property in Denton County, TX. A study of the vegetation community identified 466 species in 104 families, with 25% of the species from only two families, Asteraceae and Poaceae. The property demonstrates the characteristics of an early successional community, dominated by weedy species. Prairie communities are dominated by Johnson grass and ragweed, with climax tall grass prairie communities only in areas that have been planted with native grass seed. Forest communities are similarly in an early successional stage, dominated by the hackberry-elm-ash alliance, with small remnants of native Cross Timbers found in isolated patches. Species richness and diversity were highest in the forests and lowest in the wetlands; evenness, though not different across ecosystems, demonstrated a strong seasonal component. The species list was compared with previously reported lists for Denton County, and 256 species identified had not been previously reported for the county. A wetland restoration study was conducted to determine if there was a difference in survival and growth between potted transplants with intact root systems and bare-root transplants. Two different mesh sizes were used for protection, and the success of the different caging was evaluated. Of eight species, only four survived through the second growing season. There was no significant difference in the success of the propagule types for Sagittaria latifolia. The treatments planted with intact root systems showed significantly higher growth and reproduction than the bare-root treatments for Eleocharis quadrangulata, Heteranthera dubia, and Vallisneria americana. There was no survival recorded in the coarse mesh cages, likely due to the presence of crayfish that are able to get through the coarser mesh and feed on the transplants.
- A Comparison of Mercury Localization, Speciation, and Histology in Multiple Fish Species From Caddo Lake, a Fresh Water Wetland
- This work explores the metabolism of mercury in liver and spleen tissue of fish from a methylmercury contaminated wetland. Wild-caught bass, catfish, bowfin and gar were collected. Macrophage centers, which are both reactive and primary germinal centers in various fish tissues, were hypothesized to be the cause of demethylation of methylmercury in fish tissue. Macrophage centers are differentially expressed in fish tissue based on phylogenetic lineage, and are found primarily in the livers of preteleostean fish and in the spleen of teleostean fish. Histology of liver and spleen was examined in both control and wild-caught fish for pathology, size and number of macrophage centers, and for localization of mercury. Total mercury was estimated in the muscle tissue of all fish by direct mercury analysis. Selenium and mercury concentrations were examined in the livers of wild-caught fish by liquid introduction inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Total mercury was localized in histologic sections by laser ablation ICP-MS (LA-ICP-MS). Mercury speciation was determined for inorganic and methylmercury in liver and spleen of fish by bas chromatography-cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (GC-CVAFS). Macrophage center tissue distribution was found to be consistent with the literature, with a predominance of centers in preteleostean liver and in spleens of teleostean fish. Little evidence histopathology was found in the livers or spleens of fish examined, but differences in morphology of macrophage centers and liver tissue across species are noted. the sole sign of liver pathology noted was increased hepatic hemosiderosis in fish with high proportions of liver inorganic mercury. Inorganic mercury was found to predominate in the livers of all fish but bass. Organic mercury was found to predominate in the spleens of all fish. Mercury was found to accumulate in macrophage centers, but concentrations of mercury in this compartment were found to vary less in relation to total mercury than hepatocyte mercury. No association was found between selenium content and inorganic mercury proportions. Overall, findings from this study to not support a primary role for macrophage centers in the demethylation of methylmercury in fish tissues.
- Comparison of Risk Assessment-Predicted Ecologically Safe Concentrations of Azinphos-Methyl and Fenvalerate to Observed Effects on Estuarine Organisms in a South Carolina Tidal Stream Receiving Agricultural Runoff
- A prospective ecological risk assessment method was developed evaluating the cumulative probabilistic impact of chemical stressors to aquatic organisms. This method was developed in response to the need to evaluate the magnitude, duration and episodic nature of chemical stressors on aquatic communities under environmental exposure scenarios. The method generates a probabilistic expression of the percent of an ecosystem's species at risk from a designated chemical exposure scenario.
- A Data Fusion Framework for Floodplain Analysis using GIS and Remotely Sensed Data
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Throughout history floods have been part of the human experience. They are recurring phenomena that form a necessary and enduring feature of all river basin and lowland coastal systems. In an average year, they benefit millions of people who depend on them. In the more developed countries, major floods can be the largest cause of economic losses from natural disasters, and are also a major cause of disaster-related deaths in the less developed countries. Flood disaster mitigation research was conducted to determine how remotely sensed data can effectively be used to produce accurate flood plain maps (FPMs), and to identify/quantify the sources of error associated with such data. Differences were analyzed between flood maps produced by an automated remote sensing analysis tailored to the available satellite remote sensing datasets (rFPM), the 100-year flooded areas "predicted" by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and FPMs based on DEM and hydrological data (aFPM). Landuse/landcover was also examined to determine its influence on rFPM errors. These errors were identified and the results were integrated in a GIS to minimize landuse / landcover effects. Two substantial flood events were analyzed. These events were selected because of their similar characteristics (i.e., the existence of FIRM or Q3 data; flood data which included flood peaks, rating curves, and flood profiles; and DEM and remote sensing imagery.) Automatic feature extraction was determined to be an important component for successful flood analysis. A process network, in conjunction with domain specific information, was used to map raw remotely sensed data onto a representation that is more compatible with a GIS data model. From a practical point of view, rFPM provides a way to automatically match existing data models to the type of remote sensing data available for each event under investigation. Overall, results showed how remote sensing could contribute to the complex problem of flood management by providing an efficient way to revise the National Flood Insurance Program maps.
- Development of a procedure to evaluate groundwater quality and potential sources of contamination in the East Texas Basin
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This study contributes a procedure, based on data analysis and geostatistical methods, to evaluate the distribution of chemical ratios and differentiate natural and anthropogenic contaminant sources of groundwater quality in the East Texas Basin. Four aquifers were studied, Sparta, Queen City, Carrizo and Wilcox. In this study, Carrizo- Wilcox is considered as one aquifer, and Sparta-Queen City as another. These aquifers were divided into depth categories, 0-150 feet for Sparta-Queen City and 300-600 feet and 600-900 feet for Carrizo-Wilcox in order to identify individual sources of contamination. Natural sources include aquifer mineral make up, salt domes and lignite beds. Major anthropogenic sources include lignite and salt dome mining and oil-gas production. Chemical ratios selected were Na/Cl, Ca/Cl, Mg/Cl, SO4/Cl, (Na+Cl)/TDS, SO4/Ca and (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K). Ratio distributions and their relationships were examined to evaluate physical-chemical processes occurring in the study area. Potential contaminant sources were used to divide the Basin into three areas: Area 1 to the east, Area 2 in the west and Area 3 in the center. Bivariate analysis was used to uncover differences between the areas. The waters in Area 1 are potentially impacted primarily from oil field waters. Sources present in Area 2 include lignite beds and oil field operations. Area 3 is the cap rock of salt domes that can contain gypsum and anhydrite. Based on the exploratory data analysis (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K), and SO4/Ca ratios were chosen for geostatistical analysis. Chemical ratios that provided indications of cation exchange, salt domes and oil fields were (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K) and SO4/Ca. In the Sparta-Queen City 150 zone the procedure did not provide a good method for differentiating between contaminant sources. However, the procedure was effective to indicate impacted ground water in the Carrizo-Wilcox 600 and 900 foot zones.
- Development, validation, and evaluation of a continuous, real-time, bivalve biomonitoring system.
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A biological monitoring tool to assess water quality using bivalve gape behavior was developed and demonstrated. The purpose of this work was to develop methodologies for screening water quality appropriate to the goals of the watershed paradigm. A model of bivalve gape behavior based on prediction of behavior using autoregressive techniques was the foundation of the bivalve biomonitoring system. Current technology was used in developing the system to provide bivalve gape state data in a continuous real-time manner. A laboratory version of the system, including data collection and analysis hardware and software, was developed for use as a toxicological assay for determination of effective concentrations of toxicant(s) or other types of stress on bivalve gape behavior. Corbicula fluminea was monitored and challenged with copper, zinc, and chlorpyrifos using the system. Effective concentrations of 176±23µg/L copper, 768±412µg/L zinc, and 68µg/L chlorpyrifos were observed using a natural water with high dissolved organic carbon concentrations. A rugged field version of the bivalve biomonitoring system was developed and deployed in two locations. The field systems were fitted with a photovoltaic array, a single board computer, and a CDPD telemetry modem for robust remote operation. Data were telemetered at a time relevant rate of once every ten minutes. One unit was deployed in Lake Lewisville, Denton County, TX in February 2000. Data were telemetered and archived at a 92% success rate. Bivalve gape data demonstrated significant behavioral deviations on average 5 times per month. A second unit was deployed in Pecan Creek, Denton, TX in June 2001. Data from this site were telemetered and archived at a 96% success rate. Over the months of June-August 2001, 16 significant behavioral deviations were observed, 63% of which were correlated with changes in physical/chemical parameters. This work demonstrated the relative sensitivity of bivalve gape as a toxicological endpoint and the feasibility of its use in a continuous, real-time, bivalve biomonitoring system. Technical aspects of collecting, telemetering, and analyzing this type of data in a time-relevant manner were developed resulting in a system appropriate for use as a means of data collection within the watershed paradigm.
- Ecological Enhancement of Timber Growth: Applying Compost to Loblolly Pine Plantations
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This study explored the application of compost onto a small loblolly pine tree forest in northeast Texas. Its purpose was to determine if the application of various amounts of compost would provide for accelerated rates of growth for the trees. Soil parameters were also monitored. A total of 270 trees were planted and studied in a northeast Texas forest ecosystem. Compost rates of 5, 25, and 50 tons per acre with either soil or compost backfill were utilized and compared to a control without compost. Nonparametric and parametric ANOVA and Chi-Square tests were utilized. The results indicated that greater application rates retained greater moisture and higher pH levels in the soil. Compost applications also yielded a greater survival rate as well as larger tree height and diameter when compared to the control. The 25 ton/acre application backfilled in native soil achieved the greatest average in height and diameter when compared to the averages for the control plot. Greater growth differences for the 25S application can be attributed to additional nutrients coupled with a stable pH consistent with native soil acidity.
- Ecotoxicological Investigations in Effluent-Dominated Stream Mesocosms
- The University of North Texas Stream Research Facility (UNTSRF) was designed to examine contaminant impacts on effluent-dominated stream ecosystems. Stream mesocosms, fed municipal effluent from the City of Denton, TX, Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant (PCWRP), were treated with 0, 15 or 140 µg/L cadmium for a 10-day study in August 2000. Laboratory toxicity test and stream macroinvertebrate responses indicated that cadmium bioavailability was reduced by constituents of effluent-dominated streams. The Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) for Cd was used to predict a 48 hour Cd EC50 for Ceriodaphnia dubia of 280 µg/L in these effluent-dominated streams. This value is higher that an EC50 of 38.3 µg/L Cd and a 7-day reproduction effect level of 3.3 µg/L Cd generated for C. dubia in reconstituted laboratory hard water. These results support use of a cadmium BLM for establishing site-specific acute water quality criteria in effluent-dominated streams. Although not affected by 15 µg/L treatments, organisms accumulated Cd in 15 µg/L treated streams. Hence, over longer exposure periods, Cd accumulation may increase and a no effect level may be lower than the observed 10-day no effect level of 15 µg/L. A toxicity identification evaluation procedure was utilized with in vitro and in vivo bioassays to identify estrogenic compounds in PCWRP effluent, previously identified to seasonally induce vitellogenin (VTG) in male fathead minnows. Steroids, nonylphenol ethoxylate metabolites, and other unidentified compounds were identified as causative effluent estrogens. These findings suggest that in vivo VTG bioassays should be used to confirm in vitro Yeast Estrogen Screening assay activity when effluents are fractionated or screened for estrogenicity. A subsequent 90-day cadmium study was initiated to assess long-term effluent and cadmium effects on fish endocrine function. Juvenile fathead minnows were placed in UNTSRF pool sections of replicate streams treated with 0, 5, 20 or 80 µg/L Cd. Male VTG was induced at each treatment level, indicating that PCWRP effluent was estrogenic during fall 2001. 20 and 80 µg/L Cd treatments reduced male circulating estradiol levels and critical swimming performance. Future studies are needed to assess impacts of environmental estrogen exposure on fish calcium metabolism and vertebral integrity.
- Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland
- To assess sustainability of privately owned rangeland, a questionnaire was used to gathered data from ranches in Cooke, Montague, Clay, Wise, Parker, and Jack counties in North Central Texas. Information evaluated included: management philosophy, economics, grazing practices, environmental condition, quality of life, and demographics. Sustainability indices were created based on economic and land health indicator variables meeting a minimum Cronbach‘s alpha coefficient (α = 0.7). Hierarchical regression analysis was used to create models explaining variance in respondents’ indices scores. Five predictors explained 36% of the variance in rangeland economic sustainability index when respondents: 1) recognized management inaction has opportunity costs affecting economic viability; 2) considered forbs a valuable source of forage for wildlife or livestock; 3) believed governmental assistance with brush control was beneficial; 4) were not absentee landowners and did not live in an urban area in Texas, and; 5) valued profit, productivity, tax issues, family issues, neighbor issues or weather issues above that of land health. Additionally, a model identified 5 predictors which explained 30% of the variance for respondents with index scores aligning with greater land health sustainability. Predictors indicated: 1) fencing cost was not an obstacle for increasing livestock distribution; 2) land rest was a component of grazing plans; 3) the Natural Resource Conservation Service was used for management information; 4) fewer acres were covered by dense brush or woodlands, and; 5) management decisions were not influenced by friends. Finally, attempts to create an index and regression analysis explaining social sustainability was abandoned, due to the likely-hood of type one errors. These findings provide a new line of evidence in assessing rangeland sustainability, supporting scientific literature concerning rangeland sustainability based on ranch level indicators. Compared to measuring parameters on small plots, the use of indices allows for studying replicated whole- ranch units using rancher insight. Use of sustainability indices may prove useful in future rangeland research activities.
- Effects on Survival, Reproduction and Growth of Ceriodaphnia dubia following Single Episodic Exposure to Copper or Cadmium
- Effects of episodic exposures have gained attention as the regulatory focus of the Clean Water Act has shifted away from continuous-flow effluents. Standardized laboratory toxicity tests require that exposure be held constant. However, this approach may not accurately predict organism responses in the field following episodic exposures such as those associated with rain-driven runoff events or accidental pollutant discharge. Using a modified version of the 7-day short-term chronic test recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Ceriodaphnia dubia were exposed to copper or cadmium for durations ranging from 1 minute to 24 hours. In addition, adult reproductive recovery and effects on second generation individuals was assessed following select copper exposures. Finally, cadmium exposures were compared in reconstituted hard water (RHW) and municipal treated wastewater effluent (TWE). Following exposure, organisms were transferred to clean RHW or TWE and maintained for the remainder of the test. No- and lowest observed effect concentrations (NO- and LOECs) increased logarithmically with respect to logarithmic decreases in duration regardless of metal, endpoint or water type. Effective concentrations of cadmium however, were usually higher than those of copper, especially in TWE. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to copper were 116 and 417 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity were 58 and 374 µg/L, respectively. Neonate production of first generation adult C. dubia appeared to recover from pulsed copper exposure upon examination of individual broods. Cumulative mean neonate production however, showed almost no signs of recovery at exposure durations ≥3 hours. Pulse exposure to copper also resulted in diminished fecundity of unexposed second generation individuals. Such effects were pronounced following parental exposure for 24 hours but lacking after parental exposures ≤3 hours. LOECs for C. dubia survival following 24-hour and 5-minute exposures to cadmium in RHW were 44 and 9000 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity were 16 and 5000 µg/L, respectively. In TWE, LOECs for C. dubia survival were 83 and >10,000 µg/L, respectively. LOECs for fecundity in TWE were 48 and 7000 µg/L, respectively. Runoff pollution is site and event specific, however, data presented herein may be useful as a predictive tool under various conditions.
- Evaluation of the Developmental Effects and Bioaccumulation Potential of Triclosan and Triclocarban Using the South African Clawed Frog, Xenopus Laevis
- Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC) are antimicrobials found in U.S. surface waters. This dissertation assessed the effects of TCS and TCC on early development and investigated their potential to bioaccumulate using Xenopus laevis as a model. The effects of TCS on metamorphosis were also investigated. For 0-week tadpoles, LC50 values for TCS and TCC were 0.87 mg/L and 4.22 mg/L, respectively, and both compounds caused a significant stunting of growth. For 4-week tadpoles, the LC50 values for TCS and TCC were 0.22 mg/L and 0.066 mg/L; and for 8-week tadpoles, the LC50 values were 0.46 mg/L and 0.13 mg/L. Both compounds accumulated in Xenopus. For TCS, wet weight bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for 0-, 4- and 8-week old tadpoles were 23.6x, 1350x and 143x, respectively. Lipid weight BAFs were 83.5x, 19792x and 8548x. For TCC, wet weight BAFs for 0-, 4- and 8-week old tadpoles were 23.4x, 1156x and 1310x. Lipid weight BAFs were 101x, 8639x and 20942x. For the time-to-metamorphosis study, TCS showed an increase in weight and snout-vent length in all treatments. Exposed tadpoles metamorphosed approximately 10 days sooner than control tadpoles. For the hind limb study, although there was no difference in weight, snout-vent length, or hind limb length, the highest treatment was more developed compared to the control. There were no differences in tail resorption rates between the treatments and controls. At relevant concentrations, neither TCS nor TCC were lethal to Xenopus prior to metamorphosis. Exposure to relatively high doses of both compounds resulted in stunted growth, which would most likely not be evident at lower concentrations. TCS and TCC accumulated in Xenopus, indicating that the compound has the potential to bioaccumulate through trophic levels. Although TCS may increase the rate of metamorphosis in terms of developmental stage, it did not disrupt thyroid function and metamorphosis in regards to limb development and tail resorption.
- Evaluation of the Economic, Social, and Biological Feasibility of Bioconverting Food Wastes with the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens)
- Food waste in the waste stream is becoming an important aspect of integrated waste management systems. Current efforts are composting and animal feeding. However, these food waste disposal practices rely on slow thermodynamic processes of composting or finding farmers with domestic animals capable of consuming the food wastes. Bioconversion, a potential alternative, is a waste management practice that converts food waste to insect larval biomass and organic residue. This project uses a native and common non-pest insect in Texas, the black soldier fly, which processes large quantities of food wastes, as well as animal wastes and sewage in its larval stage. The goal of this research is to facilitate the identification and development of the practical parameters of bioconversion methods at a large cafeteria. Three major factors were selected to evaluate the practicality of a bioconversion system: (1) the biological constraints on the species; (2) the economic costs and benefits for the local community; (3) the perception of and interaction between the public and management agencies with respect to the bioconversion process. Results indicate that bioconversion is feasible on all levels. Larvae tolerate and consume food waste as well as used cooking grease, reducing the overall waste volume by 30-70% in a series of experiments, with an average reduction of 50%. The economical benefits are reduced collection costs and profit from the sale of pupae as a feedstuff, which could amount to as much as $1,200 per month under optimal conditions. Social acceptance is possible, but requires education of the public, specifically targeting school children. Potential impediments to social acceptance include historical attitudes and ignorance, which could be overcome through effective educational efforts.
- Geology as a Georegional Influence on Quercus Fagaceae Distribution in Denton and Coke Counties of Central and North Central Texas and Choctaw County of Southeastern Oklahoma, Using GIS as an Analytical Tool.
- This study elucidates the underlying relationships for the distribution of oak landcover on bedrock and soil orders in two counties in Texas and one in Oklahoma. ESRI's ArcGis and ArcMap was used to create surface maps for Denton and Coke Counties, Texas and Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Attribute tables generated in GIS were exported into a spreadsheet software program and frequency tables were created for every formation and soil order in the tri-county research area. The results were both a visual and numeric distribution of oaks in the transition area between the eastern hardwood forests and the Great Plains. Oak distributions are changing on this transition area of the South Central Plains. The sandy Woodbine and Antlers formations traditionally associated with the largest oak distribution are carrying oak coverage of approximately 31-32% in Choctaw and Denton Counties. The calcareous Blackland and Grand Prairies are traditionally associated with treeless grasslands, but are now carrying oak and other tree landcover up to 18.9%. Human intervention, including the establishment of artificial, political and social boundaries, urbanization, farming and fire control have altered the natural distribution of oaks and other landcover of this unique georegion.
- A geospatial tool for assessing potential wildland fire risk in central Texas.
- Wildland fires in the United States are not always confined to wilderness areas. The growth of population centers and housing developments in wilderness areas has blurred the boundaries between rural and urban. This merger of human development and natural landscape is known in the wildland fire community as the wildland urban interface or WUI, and it is within this interface that many wildland fires increasingly occur. As wildland fire intrusions in the WUI increase so too does the need for tools to assess potential impact to valuable assets contained within the interface. This study presents a methodology that combines real-time weather data, a wildland fire behavior model, satellite remote sensing and geospatial data in a geographic information system to assess potential risk to human developments and natural resources within the Austin metropolitan area and surrounding ten counties of central, Texas. The methodology uses readily available digital databases and satellite images within Texas, in combination with an industry standard fire behavior model to assist emergency and natural resource managers assess potential impacts from wildland fire. Results of the study will promote prevention of WUI fire disasters, facilitate watershed and habitat protection, and help direct efforts in post wildland fire mitigation and restoration.
- Habitat Fragmentation by Land-Use Change: One-Horned Rhinoceros in Nepal and Red-Cockaded Woodpecker in Texas
- This research focuses on the spatial analysis of the habitat of two vulnerable species, the one-horn rhinoceros in the grasslands of southern Nepal, and the red-cockaded woodpecker in the Piney woods of southeast Texas, in the USA. A study sites relevant for biodiversity conservation was selected in each country: Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and areas near the Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas. Land-use differs in the two study areas: the first is still undergoing agrarian development while the second is in a technological phase and undergoing urbanization processes. Satellite remote sensing images were used to derive land-cover maps by supervised classification. These maps were then processed by Geographic Information Systems methods to apply habitat models based on basic resources (food and cover) and obtain habitat suitability maps. Several landscape metrics were computed to quantify the habitat characteristics especially the composition and configuration of suitable habitat patches. Sensitivity analyses were performed as the nominal values of some of the model parameters were arbitrary. Development potential probability models were used to hypothesize changes in land-use of the second study site. Various scenarios were employed to examine the impact of development on the habitat of red-cockaded woodpecker. The method derived in this study would prove beneficial to guide management and conservation of wildlife habitats.
- Influence of Sediment Exposure and Water Depth on Torpedograss Invasion of Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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Torpedograss (Panicum repens) was first observed in Lake Okeechobee in the 1970s and appears to have displaced an estimated 6,400 ha of native plants, such as spikerush (Eleocharis cellulosa), where inundation depths are often less than 50 cm. Two series of studies evaluated substrate exposure and water depth influences on torpedograss establishment and competitiveness. Results revealed that fragments remain buoyant for extended periods and so facilitate dispersal. Once anchored to exposed substrate fragments can readily root and establish. Subsequently, torpedograss thrives when subjected to inundations to 75 cm and survives prolonged exposure to depths greater than 1 m. These findings suggest that fluctuating water levels contribute to torpedograss dispersal and colonization patterns and that low water levels increase marsh area susceptible to invasion. The competition study found that spikerush grown in monoculture produces significantly more biomass when continually inundated to shallow depths (10 to 20 cm) than when subjected to drier conditions (-25 cm) or greater inundations (80 cm). In contrast, torpedograss establishes more readily on exposed substrate (-25 to 0 cm) compared to inundate substrates. During the first growing season biomass production increases as substrate exposure interval increases. However, during the second year, established torpedograss produces more biomass when grown on intermittently wet (0 cm) compared to permanently dry (-25 cm) or intermittently inundated (10 cm) substrates. No difference in production was observed between substrates permanently inundated (10 cm) and any other regime tested. During the first two years of torpedograss invasion, regardless of treatment, spikerush suppresses invasion and torpedograss had little effect on established spikerush, indicating that spikerush-dominated areas are capable of resisting torpedograss invasion. Even so, disturbances that might cause mortality of long hydroperiod species, such as spikerush, may create open gaps in the native vegetation and thus facilitate torpedograss establishment and expansion.
- Investigation of Lead Hydrolytic Polymerization and Interactions with Organic Ligands in the Soil/Sediment-Water Environment
- The objective of this research was to investigate lead speciation in the soil/sediment-water environment and to better understand how the species affect lead mobility under different environmental conditions. The research involved both field soil and sediment samples as well as standard lead solutions. Field samples were fully characterized and extracted by aqueous and organic solvents. The results were compared and evaluated with the metal speciation model, MINTEQA2. Hydrolytic polymerization and organic complexation studies were conducted with standard lead solutions under controlled experimental conditions. Results of the field samples showed that pH, dissolved cations, ionic strength, dissolved organic matter, and nature of the soil/sediment matrix play major roles in the distribution and mobility of lead (Pb) from contaminated sites. In the aqueous equilibration experiment, the magnitude of Pb2+ solubilization was in the order of pH4>pH7>pH9. The results were in good agreement with MINTEQA2 predictions. An important finding of the research is the detection of Pb polymerization species under controlled experimental conditions. At pH 5.22, Pb polymeric species were formed at rate of 0.03 per day. The role of Pb complexation with organic matter was evaluated in both field and standard samples. Different methodologies showed three types of organically bound Pb. A very small fraction of Pb, in the ppb range, was extractable from the contaminated soil by polar organic solvents. Sequential extractions show that 16.6±1.4 % of the Pb is organically complexed. Complexation of Pb with fulvic acid provided new information on the extent of Pb association with soluble organic matter. The overall results of this research have provided new and useful information regarding Pb speciation in environmental samples. The results, in several instances, have provided verification of MINTEQA2 model's prediction. They also revealed areas of disagreement between the models prediction and the experimental results. A positive note regarding the experimental work done in the research is the verification of the mass balance in all the repeated experiments.
- Measuring Atmospheric Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide Concentration by Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy
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The main objective was to develop a procedure based on differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) to measure atmospheric total column of ozone, using the automated instrument developed at the University of North Texas (UNT) by Nebgen in 2006. This project also explored the ability of this instrument to provide measurements of atmospheric total column nitrogen dioxide. The instrument is located on top of UNT’s Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building. It employs a low cost spectrometer coupled with fiber optics, which are aimed at the sun to collect solar radiation. Measurements taken throughout the day with this instrument exhibited a large variability. The DOAS procedure derives total column ozone from the analysis of daily DOAS Langley plots. This plot relates the measured differential column to the airmass factor. The use of such plots is conditioned by the time the concentration of ozone remains constant. Observations of ozone are typically conducted throughout the day. Observations of total column ozone were conducted for 5 months. Values were derived from both DOAS and Nebgen’s procedure and compared to satellite data. Although differences observed from both procedures to satellite data were similar, the variability found in measurements was reduced from 70 Dobson units, with Nebgen’s procedure, to 4 Dobson units, with the DOAS procedure.A methodology to measure atmospheric nitrogen dioxide using DOAS was also investigated. Although a similar approach to ozone measurements could be applied, it was found that such measurements were limited by the amount of solar radiation collected by the instrument. Observations of nitrogen dioxide are typically conducted near sunrise or sunset, when solar radiation experiences most of the atmospheric absorption.
- Modeling of land use change effects on storm water quantity and quality in the City of Carrollton and the North Texas Area.
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Development and population are rapidly increasing in urbanizing areas of North Texas and so is the need to understand changes in storm water runoff flow and its contamination by nutrients, sediment, pesticides and other toxicants. This study contributes to this understanding and has two primary components: first, development of a graphical user interface for a geographic information system and storm water management database, and second, performing a two-scale hydrological modeling approach (the US Corp of Engineers HEC-HMS model and the US Environmental Protection Agency SWMM model). Both primary components are used together as a toolkit to support the storm water management program of the City of Carrollton, located in North Texas. By focusing limited city resources, the toolkit helps storm water managers in the process of compliance with federal regulations, especially the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, and provides guidance for reporting, planning and investigation. A planning example was conducted by modeling potential changes in storm water quality due to projections of land use based on the City of Carrollton's Comprehensive Plan. An additional component of this study is the evaluation of future changes in surface water quantity and quality in the North Central Texas area, specifically in a rural but rapidly urbanizing subbasin area of the greater Lake Lewisville watershed. This was accomplished using the US Corp of Engineers HEC-HMS hydrological model. Precipitation scenarios were derived from years of historically high, medium, and low annual precipitation. Development scenarios were derived from current land use in the Lake Lewisville sub basin, current land use in the city of Carrollton, and from Markov projections based on recent land use change calculated from satellite images of 1988 and 1999. This information is useful for future land use planning and management of water resources in North Texas.
- Modeling the Effects of Chronic Toxicity of Pharmaceutical Chemicals on the Life History Strategies of Ceriodaphnia Dubia: a Multigenerational Study
- Trace quantities of pharmaceuticals (including carbamazepine and sertraline) are continuously discharged into the environment, which causes concern among scientists and regulators regarding their potential long-term impacts on aquatic ecosystems. These compounds and their metabolites are continuously interacting with the orgranisms in various life stages, and may differentially influence development of embryo, larvae, juvenile, and adult stages. To fully understand the potential ecological risks of two candidate pharmaceutical chemicals (carbamazepine (CBZ) and sertraline (SERT)) exposure on survival, growth and reproduction of Ceriodaphnia dubia in three sucessive generations under static renewal toxicity test, a multigenerational approach was taken. Results indicate that SERT exposure showed higher sensitivity to chronic exposure to C. dubia growth and reproduction than CBZ exposure. The lowest concentration to affect fecundity and growth was at 50 µg L-1 SERT in the first two generations. These parameters become more sensitive during the third generation where the LOEC was 4.8 µg L-1. The effective concentrations (EC50) for the number of offspring per female, offspring body size, and dry weight were 17.2, 21.2, and 26.2 µg SERT L-1, respectively. Endpoints measured in this study demonstrate that chronic exposure of C. dubia to SERT leads to effects that occur at concentrations an order of magnitude higher than predicted environmental concentrations indicating potential transgenerationals effects. Additionally, a process-based dynamic energy budget (DEB) model is implemented to predict the simulated effects of chronic toxicity of SERT and CBZ to C. dubia individual behavior at laboratory condition. The model‘s output indicates the ecotoxicological mode of action of SERT exposure, which acts on feeding or assimilation with an effect that rapidly saturates at higher concentrations. Offspring size decreases with the toxic effects on feeding, and offspring number is thus less affected than total investment in reproduction. Consequently, CBZ affects direclty in reproduction which are captured by DEBtox model as increased embryonic hazard and reproduction cost as well as growth and maintenance costs. Furthermore, stress factor linearly increased not only with increasing chemical concentrations but also with exposure time. The DEBtox model establishes a cumulative life history consequence of multigenerational exposure to CBZ and SERT. This approach provides a tool to which to understand the effect of chemical to the individual organism and predict the population level effects in ecological risk assessment of the emerging contaminants.
- On-Road Remote Sensing of Motor Vehicle Emissions: Associations between Exhaust Pollutant Levels and Vehicle Parameters for Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and Utah
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On-road remote sensing has the ability to operate in real-time, and under real world conditions, making it an ideal candidate for detecting gross polluters on major freeways and thoroughfares. In this study, remote sensing was employed to detect carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), and nitrogen oxide (NO). On-road remote sensing data taken from measurements performed in six states, (Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and Utah) were cleaned and analyzed. Data mining and exploration were first undertaken in order to search for relationships among variables such as make, year, engine type, vehicle weight, and location. Descriptive statistics were obtained for the three pollutants of interest. The data were found to have non-normal distributions. Applied transformations were ineffective, and nonparametric tests were applied. Due to the extremely large sample size of the dataset (508,617 records), nonparametric tests resulted in "p" values that demonstrated "significance." The general linear model was selected due to its ability to handle data with non-normal distributions. The general linear model was run on each pollutant with output producing descriptive statistics, profile plots, between-subjects effects, and estimated marginal means. Due to insufficient data within certain cells, results were not obtained for gross vehicle weight and engine type. The "year" variable was not directly analyzed in the GLM because "year" was employed in a weighted least squares transformation. "Year" was found to be a source of heteroscedasticity; and therefore, the basis of a least-squares transformation. Grouped-years were analyzed using medians, and the results were displayed graphically. Based on the GLM results and descriptives, Japanese vehicles typically had the lowest CO, HC, and NO emissions, while American vehicles ranked high for the three. Illinois, ranked lowest for CO, while Texas ranked highest. Illinois and Colorado were lowest for HC emissions, while Utah and California were highest. For NO, Colorado ranked highest with Texas and Arizona, lowest.
- Optimizing Scientific and Social Attributes of Pharmaceutical Take Back Programs to Improve Public and Environmental Health
- Research continues to show that pharmaceutical environmental contamination has caused adverse environmental effects, with one of the most studied effects being feminization of fish exposed to pharmaceutical endocrine disruptors. Additionally, there are also public health risks associated with pharmaceuticals because in-home reserves of medications provide opportunities for accidental poisoning and intentional medication abuse. Pharmaceutical take back programs have been seen as a remedy to these concerns; however a thorough review of peer-reviewed literature and publicly available information on these programs indicates limited research has been conducted to validate these programs as a purported solution. Furthermore, there are significant data gaps on key factors relating to take back program participants. The purpose of this dissertation was therefore to address these gaps in knowledge and ultimately determine if take back programs could actually improve public and environmental health. This was accomplished by conducting social and scientific research on a take back program called Denton Drug Disposal Day (D4). Socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic characteristics of D4 participants were investigated using surveys and geographic analysis. Impacts on public health were determined by comparing medications collected at D4 events with medications reported to the North Texas Poison Center as causing adverse drug exposures in Denton County. Impacts to environmental health were determined by monitoring hydrocodone concentrations in wastewater effluent released from Denton’s wastewater treatment plant before and after D4 events. Data collected and analyzed from the D4 events and the wastewater monitoring suggests D4 events were successful in contributing to improvements in public and environmental health; however there was insufficient evidence to prove that D4 events were exclusively responsible for these improvements. An additional interesting finding was that willingness to travel to participate in D4 events was limited to a five to six mile threshold. This geographic information, combined with other findings related to socioeconomic, demographic, and risk perception characteristics of D4 participants, has the potential to help improve the effectiveness of future take back events. This would allow these programs to better meet their common goals of improving both public and environmental health, which this study has shown is achievable to some degree.
- Organic carbon dynamics of the Neches River and its floodplain.
- A large river system typically derives the majority of its biomass from production within the floodplain. The Neches River in the Big Thicket National Preserve is a large blackwater river that has an extensive forested floodplain. Organic carbon was analyzed within the floodplain waters and the river (upstream and downstream of the floodplain) to determine the amount of organic carbon from the floodplain that is contributing to the nutrient dynamics in the river. Dissolved organic carbon was significantly higher at downstream river locations during high discharge. Higher organic carbon levels in the floodplain contributed to increases in organic carbon within the Neches River downstream of the floodplain when Neches River discharges exceeded 10,000 cfs. Hurricane Rita passed through the Big Thicket National Preserve in September 2005. Dissolved organic carbon concentrations recorded after Hurricane Rita in the Neches River downstream of the floodplain were significantly higher than upstream of the floodplain. Dissolved organic carbon was twice as high after the hurricane than levels prior to the hurricane, with floodplain concentrations exceeding 50 ppm C. The increase in organic carbon was likely due to nutrients leached from leaves, which were swept from the floodplain trees prior to normal abscission in the fall. A continuum of leaf breakdown rates was observed in three common floodplain species of trees: Sapium sebiferum, Acer rubrum, and Quercus laurifolia. Leaves collected from blowdown as a result of Hurricane Rita did not break down significantly faster than leaves collected prior to abscission in the fall. Processing coefficients for leaf breakdown in a continuously wet area of the floodplain were significantly higher than processing coefficients for leaf breakdown on the floodplain floor. The forested floodplain of the Neches River is the main contributor of organic carbon. When flow is greater than 10,000 csf, the floodplain transports organic carbon directly to the river, providing a source of nutrition for riverine organisms and contributing to the overall health of the ecosystem.
- A paleozoological perspective on predator extermination and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Boddaert) overabundance in central Texas.
- Archaeological and paleontological datasets are used in conservation to add time-depth to ecology. In central Texas several top carnivores including prehistoric Native American hunters have been extirpated or have had their historic ranges restricted, which has resulted in pest-level white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus texana) populations in some areas. Predator extermination has dramatically reduced the average body size of members of the extant predator guild, and large carnivores most capable of hunting white-tailed deer are extirpated. Character release in the remaining “large” predatorsmesocarnivoresis a predicted outcome related to the adaptive vacuum at the top of the trophic hierarchy. Differences in body size of deer between prehistory and modernity are expected given that a lack of predation likely has increased intraspecific competition for forage among deer resulting in smaller body size today. In fact modern deer from settings without harvest pressure are significantly smaller than those from harvested areas and from prehistoric deer. From a natural history perspective, this research highlights potential evolutionary causes and effects of top-predator removal on deer populations and related components of biological communities in central Texas.
- Phosphorus Retention and Fractionation in Masonry Sand and Light Weight Expanded Shale Used as Substrate in a Subsurface Flow Wetland
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Constructed wetlands are considered an inefficient technology for long-term phosphorus (P) removal. The P retention effectiveness of subsurface wetlands can be improved by using appropriate substrates. The objectives of this study were to: (i) use sorption isotherms to estimate the P sorption capacity of the two materials, masonry sand and light weight expanded shale; (ii) describe dissolved P removal in small (2.7 m3) subsurface flow wetlands; (iii) quantify the forms of P retained by the substrates in the pilot cells; and (iv) use resulting data to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the most promising system to remove P. The P sorption capacity of masonry sand and expanded shale, as determined with Langmuir isotherms, was 60 mg/kg and 971 mg/kg respectively. In the pilot cells receiving secondarily treated wastewater, cells containing expanded shale retained a greater proportion of the incoming P (50.8 percent) than cells containing masonry sand (14.5 percent). After a year of operation, samples were analyzed for total P (TP) and total inorganic P (TIP). Subsamples were fractionated into labile-P, Fe+Al-bound P, humic-P, Ca+Mg-bound P, and residual-P. Means and standard deviations of TP retained by the expanded shale and masonry sand were 349 + 169 and 11.9 + 18.6 mg/kg respectively. The largest forms of P retained by the expanded shale pilot cells were Fe+Al- bound P (108 mg/kg), followed by labile-P (46.7 mg/kg) and humic-P (39.8). Increases in the P forms of masonry sand were greatest in labile-P (7.5 mg/kg). The cost of an expanded shale wetland is within the range of costs conventional technologies for P removal. Accurate cost comparisons are dependent upon expansion capacity of the system under consideration. Materials with a high P sorption capacity also have potential for enhancing P removal in other constructed wetland applications such as stormwater wetlands and wetlands for treating agricultural runoff.
- Population Dynamics of Zebra Mussels (Dreissena Polymorpha) in a North Texas Reservoir: Implications for Invasions in the Southern United States
- This dissertation has two main objectives: first, quantify the effects of environmental conditions on spatio-temporal spawning and larval dynamics of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha [Pallas 1771]) in Lake Texoma, and second, quantify the effects of environmental conditions on survival, growth, and reproduction of young of the year (YOY) juvenile zebra mussels. These biological responses directly influence population establishment success and invasive spread dynamics. Reproductive output of the zebra mussel population in Lake Texoma was significantly related to water temperature and lake elevation. Annual maximum larval (veliger) density decreased significantly indicating a population crash, which was likely caused by thermal stress and variability of lake elevation. In 2011, temperatures peaked at 34.3°C and lake elevation decreased to the lowest level recorded during the previous 18 years, which desiccated a substantial number of settled mussels in littoral zones. Estimated mean date of first spawn in Lake Texoma was observed approximately 1.5 months earlier than in Lake Erie, and peak veliger densities were observed two months earlier. Veligers were observed in the deepest oxygenated water after lake stratification. During a 69-day in situ experiment during summer in Lake Texoma, age-specific mortality of zebra mussels was generally high until temperatures decreased to approximately 28°C, which was observed after lake turnover in late summer. No study organism died after temperatures decreased to less than 26°C, which indicates individuals that survive high summer temperatures are likely to persist into autumn/winter. Shell length growth and soft tissue growth rates were related to temperature and chlorophyll-a concentration, respectively. Growth rates of study organisms were among the highest ever reported for D. polymorpha. Water temperature and body size influenced reproduction of YOY zebra mussels in Lake Texoma. Fecundity of females were positively related to temperature; however, sperm production was negatively related to temperature, which indicates males could be more sensitive to physiologically-stressful conditions than females and could perform better in cooler waters. YOY mussels spawned up to approximately 40,000 eggs and 3.47E+08 sperm after a single-summer growing season. Reproductive effort and reproductive mass were independent of sex. YOY individuals from each study site (n = 5) were able to spawn viable gametes capable of sperm binding and egg cleavage, which provides the first evidence that YOY zebra mussels can successfully reproduce. Individual mortality of zebra mussels will likely be high in warm waters and intermittent, extreme droughts, which are observed more frequently at lower latitudes, can significantly reduce population sizes. However, rapid growth and single-season maturation can decrease generation times and could facilitate establishment and spread of zebra mussels in warm-water environments in the southern United States.
- Quantifying Forest Vertical Structure to Determine Bird Habitat Quality in the Greenbelt Corridor, Denton, Tx
- This study presents the integration of light detection and range (LiDAR) and hyperspectral remote sensing to create a three-dimensional bird habitat map in the Greenbelt Corridor of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. This map permits to examine the relationship between forest stand structure, landscape heterogeneity, and bird community composition. A biannual bird census was conducted at this site during the breeding seasons of 2009 and 2010. Census data combined with the three-dimensional map suggest that local breeding bird abundance, community structure, and spatial distribution patterns are highly influenced by vertical heterogeneity of vegetation surface. For local breeding birds, vertical heterogeneity of canopy surface within stands, connectivity to adjacent forest patches, largest forest patch index, and habitat (vegetation) types proved to be the most influential factors to determine bird community assemblages. Results also highlight the critical role of secondary forests to increase functional connectivity of forest patches. Overall, three-dimensional habitat descriptions derived from integrated LiDAR and hyperspectral data serve as a powerful bird conservation tool that shows how the distribution of bird species relates to forest composition and structure at various scales.
- Removal of selected water disinfection byproducts, and MTBE in batch and continuous flow systems using alternative sorbents.
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A study was conducted to evaluate the sorption characteristics of six disinfection byproducts (DBPs) on four sorbents. To investigate sorption of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), specially designed experimental batch and continuous flow modules were developed. The investigated compounds included: chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane (DCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), bromodichloromethane (BDCM), methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), bromate and bromide ions. Sorbents used included light weight aggregate (LWA), an inorganic porous material with unique surface characteristics, Amberlite® XAD-16, a weakly basic anion exchange resin, Amberjet®, a strongly basic anion exchange resin, and granular activated carbon (GAC). Batch experiments were conducted on spiked Milli-Q® and lake water matrices. Results indicate considerable sorption of TCE (68.9%), slight sorption of bromate ions (19%) and no appreciable sorption for the other test compounds on LWA. The sorption of TCE increased to 75.3% in experiments utilizing smaller LWA particle size. LWA could be a viable medium for removal of TCE from contaminated surface or groundwater sites. Amberlite® was found unsuitable for use due to its physical characteristics, and its inability to efficiently remove any of the test compounds. Amberjet® showed an excellent ability to remove the inorganic anions (>99%), and BDCM (96.9%) from aqueous solutions but with considerable elevation of pH. Continuous flow experiments evaluated GAC and Amberjet® with spiked Milli-Q® and tap water matrices. The tested organic compounds were sorbed in the order of their hydrophobicity. Slight elevation of pH was observed during continuous flow experiments, making Amberjet® a viable option for removal of BDCM, bromate and bromide ions from water. The continuous flow experiments showed that GAC is an excellent medium for removal of the tested VOCs and bromate ion. Each of the test compounds showed different breakthrough and saturation points. The unique design of the continuous flow apparatus used in the study proved to be highly beneficial to assess removal of volatile organic compounds from aqueous solutions.
- Reproductive and Growth Responses of the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales Promelas) and Japanese Medaka (Oryzias Latipes) to the Synthetic Progestin, Norethindrone
- A commonly prescribed contraceptive, the synthetic progestin norethindrone (NET) inhibits ovulation in humans. However, ecotoxicological data are lacking. Preliminary tests produced an LC50 for NET of > 1.0 mg/L (96-hour, fathead minnow (FHM) and medaka) and a NOEC of 242.0 µg/L, a LOEC of 485.0 µg/L (7-day, growth for FHM and medaka). Reproductive testing revealed a LOEC for fecundity of 24.1 ng/L (21 days, medaka). Further testing confirmed the LOEC of 24.1 ng/L while defining a NOEC of 4.7 ng/L (28 days, medaka). Effect of NET in medaka life-cycle exposure at concentrations exceeding 4.7 ng/L was evident. Few females were present in the 24.7 ng/L exposure concentration, with none in the 104.6 ng/L. Egg production was significantly reduced at concentrations exceeding 4.7 ng/L. Additionally, weight, condition factor and somatic indices were significantly different in males exposed to concentrations exceeding 4.7 ng/L. For fecundity and sexual differentiation; the NOEC was 4.7 ng/L, the LOEC 24.6 ng/L; growth and somatic indices, the NOEC was more appropriately 0.9 ng/L, with effect evident at 4.7 ng/L. Sexual differentiation of the F1 population was similar to the F0. A defining result of this test was development of exceptionally large ovaries in NET- exposed female medaka, perhaps indicative of a threshold limit for exposure in these fish. Results of FHM life-cycle testing were similar, establishing a NOEC for fecundity of 0.9 ng/L, a LOEC of 4.8 ng/L. NET's inhibitory effect on gonadal development was obvious; GSI NOEC for males, 4.8 ng/L, and histological examination confirmed the presence of intersex development at elevated concentrations. Normal physical development and growth were impaired, generally at concentrations exceeding 24.1 ng/L. At exposure concentrations exceeding 4.8 ng/L, external sexual confirmation of fish was difficult; LOEC for finspot development in females, 4.8 ng/L. Sexual determination of the 97.1 ng/L exposure group was impossible; externally, all fish appeared male and internal examination revealed no gonadal development.
- Revisiting Aldo Leopold's "Perfect" Land Health: Conservation and Development in Mexico's Rio Gavilan
- The Rio Gavilan watershed, located in Mexico 's northern Sierra Madre Occidental , has significance in conservation history. Upon visiting the remote, largely undeveloped watershed during two hunting trips in the 1930s, renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold thought it was the best picture of land health he had seen. His main indicators of healthy land were slow water runoff rates regulating erosion and historical predator-prey relationships. The visits confirmed Leopold's concept of land health, inspired many of his essays, and helped shape his land ethic. Leopold proposed the area as a control site to research healthy land throughout North America . The proposal never went forward and the area has since been more intensively logged and grazed. This dissertation research used extensive literature review, archives, oral histories, citizen surveys, and rapid assessment of forest, rangeland, riparian, and socioeconomic health to assess impacts of past cultures and update the area's land health status. Projects that could restore land health, such as linked eco-tourism, forest density reduction, and rotational grazing, were assessed for feasibility. Recent critiques of Leopold's land ethic were also reviewed. Results indicate most pre-1940s impacts were light, current land health status is moderate, and local interest exists in restoring land health. Many fish and wildlife populations are reduced, temporarily stabilized, but still at risk. Soil and riverbed erosion, service sector economics, and (at some ridge-top sites) forest density are the land health indicators in worst condition. Land health restoration projects are feasible.
- Riparian Forest Width and the Avian Community in a Greenbelt Corridor Setting
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The forest avian community of the Ray Roberts Greenbelt (Denton Co., Texas) was characterized for two years using point count station sampling, from fall 1998 to summer 2000. Richness data for both breeding seasons were correlated with two-spatial metrics: width of the riparian forest and distance to the nearest edge. There were significant correlations between forest interior species richness and both spatial metrics, for both breeding seasons. Based on these data, a minimum riparian forest width threshold of 400-meters is suggested to provide habitat for forest interior species, which have lost considerable habitat through forest fragmentation. Partners in Flight breeding bird priority concern scores were used to create a habitat priority index for the Trinity River bottomland hardwood forest system
- Role of N-Acylethanolamines in Plant Defense Responses: Modulation by Pathogens and Commercial Antimicrobial Stressors
- N-acyl ethanolamines (NAEs) are a class of lipids recently recognized as signaling molecules which are controlled, in part, by their degradation by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). On the basis of previous studies indicating increased NAE levels in a tobacco cell suspension-xylanase elicitor exposure system and the availability of FAAH mutants, overexpressor and knockout (OE and KO) genotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana, further roles of NAEs in A. thaliana plant defense was investigated. The commonly occurring urban antimicrobial contaminant triclosan (TCS) has been shown to suppress lipid signaling associated with plant defense responses. Thus, a second objective of this study was to determine if TCS exposure specifically interferes with NAE levels. No changes in steady state NAE profiles in A. thaliana-Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and A. thaliana-flagellin (bacterial peptide, flg22) challenge systems were seen despite evidence that defense responses were activated in these systems. There was a significant drop in enoyl-ACP reductase (ENR) enzyme activity, which catalyzes the last step in the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway in plants, on exposure of the seedlings to TCS at 10 ppm for 24 h and decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production due to flg22 in long term exposure of 0.1 ppm and short term exposure of 5 ppm. However, these responses were not accompanied by significant changes in steady state NAE profiles.
- Simulation of physical and chemical processes in reservoirs: Two case studies.
- Managing water quality aspects requires the use of integrative tools that allow a holistic approach to this problem. Water quality models coupled to hydrodynamic models are these tools. This study presents the application of the water quality model WASP coupled to the hydrodynamic model DYNHYD for two distinct reservoirs: Lake Texoma and Tocoma Reservoir. Modeling the former included simulations of water velocities, water level, and four chemical and physical compounds: chlorides, dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and total suspended solids (TSS); and validation of the results by comparing with observed values during March - May, 1997. The latter is still under project status and the simulation was performed in a prospective way. The analysis included simulations of water velocities under current and for expected conditions, DO and BOD. Both models, DYNHYD and WASP, fitted pretty well to observed conditions for Lake Texoma and for where Tocoma Reservoir has been planned. Considering management and decision support purposes, the role of boundary and loading conditions also was tested. For Lake Texoma, controlling boundary conditions for chlorides is a determinant factor for water quality of the system. However, DO and TSS in the reservoir are governed by additional process besides the condition of the boundary. Estimated loadings for this system did not provided significant effects, even though the allocation of a load for chlorides resulted in significant changes in the trend for expected chloride concentrations at the Washita River Arm of Lake Texoma. For Tocoma Reservoir, the expected concentration of DO all over the reservoir is going to driven by boundary conditions, as well as by the management of autochthonous BOD loadings provided by vegetation decomposition. These two factors will be determinant for the resulting water quality of the future reservoir.
- Soil and Forest Variation by Topography and Succession Stages in the Greenbelt Corridor, Floodplain of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, North Texas.
- The Greenbelt Corridor (GBC), located in a floodplain of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, contains patches of bottomland forest and serves as part of Lake Lewisville’s flood control backwaters. This study examines forest structure and composition in relation to topographic position and forest stage in the GBC. Thirty two plots were surveyed within various stage classes, topographic positions, and USDA soil types. Trees were identified and measured for height and DBH. Density, basal area, and importance value for each of species was calculated. Soil and vegetation were analyzed using ANOVA, Principal Component Analysis, Canonical Correlation, Canonical Correspondence Analysis and Cluster Analysis. Tests confirmed that calcium carbonate and pH show significant differences with topographic positions but not with forest stage. Potassium shows no significant difference with soil texture class. Sand shows a strong negative correlation with moisture, organic matter, organic carbon and negative correlation with calcium carbonate and potassium. Silt shows positive correlation with moisture, organic matter, organic carbon, and calcium carbonate. Clay shows strong positive correlation with moisture, organic matter and organic carbon but negative correlations with pH. Swamp privet is dominant tree types in wetland forest. Sugarberry cedar elm, green ash and American elm are widely distributed species in the study area covering low ridges, flats, and slough. In total, density is significantly different in wetland low forest and late successional stage and basal area is significantly different in early successional stage and late successional stage. Other results show that clay is negatively correlated with American elm but positively correlated with cedar elm. Organic matter and moisture shows a strong positive correlation with cedar elm. Calcium carbonate is associated with green ash and swamp privet, sand is associated with sugarberry and red mulberry, silt and pH with cedar elm and bur oak.
- Storm Water System Monitoring for the Small Municipality Under Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
- Storm water quality can have a significant impact on receiving water bodies. The chief recipients of these impacts are aquatic life in the receiving water body and downstream water users. Over the last few decades, legislation, regulations, institutions and facilities have evolved to recognize the impact of urban storm water on receiving streams. This increased emphasis has caused contaminants in storm water to be identified as a major concern. This developing concern has generated an increased interest in the water quality of our streams and lakes and emphasized the need for more monitoring efforts. With the passage of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II requirements, small municipalities are responsible for storm water impacts on receiving waters within their jurisdiction. For the purposes of NPDES Phase II requirements, small municipalities are identified as these municipalities that are typically composed of 10,000 but less than 100,000 in population. The purpose of this dissertation is to develop a manual for use by the staff of small municipalities in meeting the requirements prescribed by changes initiated in the NPDES Phase II regulations. Attempts were made to comply with these requirements within a very limited manpower and budget framework and to develop procedures that would allow for permit compliance using testing equipment that was both reliable and robust. The users' manual provides valuable guidance in the establishment of a knowledge base for characterization of the watersheds selected for study. Chapter 3 of the dissertation contains a users' manual, designed for use by municipal staff members in their efforts to comply with the NPDES Phase II requirements. Using the techniques and equipment capabilities developed during the writing of the users' manual a characterization of three watersheds within Denton County, Texas was developed. Non-storm water samples were taken from each of the streams and a baseline analysis was established. The three watersheds represented agricultural, suburban and urban settings. Storm water samples were obtained from multiple storms within all three watersheds and data analysis used to determine the character and impact of urban runoff. Determination of the constituents for analysis was based on monitoring requirements of the NPDES Phase I and II requirements for owners and operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) and on the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). The three watersheds were determined to have multiple statistically significant differences for some parameters between their Base Flows and Storm Flows. The impact of urban runoff on the receiving waters of these three drainage systems was clearly demonstrated throughout the testing period.
- Thresholds in avian communities at multiple scales: Relationships between birds, forests, habitats, and landscapes in the Ray Roberts greenbelt, Denton
- Environmental management agencies make efforts to reduce pollution loading in streams and rivers by promoting vegetated buffer zones between human activity and water. Most of these efforts do not mesh water quality-based buffer zone width requirements with conservation and wildlife values, specifically, the use of these riparian forest corridors for wildlife dispersal between habitats in highly fragmented landscapes. Forest interior birds are of the most concern to management in riparian forests due to their population declines across much of their breeding range. This dissertation investigates the role that landscape-level and habitat-level factors play on the presence of breeding birds in riparian forests, particularly the landscape and habitat factors that are influenced by human-caused fragmentation. This study describes research at the Ray Roberts Greenbelt, Denton, Texas, that explores the relationships between the landscape and forest habitats of the Greenbelt with its breeding bird community. The major findings of this study are that bird communities in the corridor forests are associated with a greater array of factors than are bird communities in patches, suggesting that the birds of patch forests are somewhat insulated from landscape-scale effects. Also, habitat values can be maintained in corridors, but there does not seem to be a significant relationship between the bird communities and the habitat. Forest factors are the primary influences (as inferred from the number of associations and the relative strength of these associations) on the bird communities of the Ray Roberts Greenbelt. Thresholds of richness or abundance in the amount of forest as compared with the forest interior bird community suggest that patches are better than corridors to support this community, and that the more interior forest available, the better for forest interior birds. The suggested minimum amount of forest derived from these thresholds is 35% of the amount of forest within 1 kilometer of any given part of the Greenbelt. Thresholds in forest width for avian communities suggest a minimum width of 200 m for any corridor. Thresholds in distance from interior forest suggest that the forest interior bird community can be best supported by shorter corridors that connect larger patches, with a suggested maximum corridor length of 125 m.
- Use of geographic information systems for assessing ground water pollution potential by pesticides in central Thailand
- This study employed geographic information systems (GIS) technology to evaluate the vulnerability of groundwater to pesticide pollution. The study area included three provinces (namely, Kanchana Buri, Ratcha Buri, and Suphan Buri) located in the western part of central Thailand. Factors used for this purpose were soil texture, percent slope, primary land use, well depth, and monthly variance of rainfall. These factors were reclassified to a common scale showing potential to cause groundwater contamination by pesticides. This scale ranged from 5 to 1 which means high to low pollution potential. Also, each factor was assigned a weight indicating its influence on the movement of pesticides to groundwater. Well depth, the most important factor in this study, had the highest weight of 0.60 while each of the remaining factors had an equal weight of 0.10. These factors were superimposed by a method called “arithmetic overlay” to yield a composite vulnerability map of the study area. Maps showing relative vulnerability of groundwater to contamination by pesticides were produced. Each of them represented the degree of susceptibility of groundwater to be polluted by the following pesticides: 2,4-D, atrazine, carbofuran, dicofol, endosulfan, dieldrin & aldrin, endrin, heptachlor & heptachlor epoxide, total BHC, and total DDT. These maps were compared to groundwater quality data derived from actual observations. However, only the vulnerability maps of atrazine, endosulfan, total BHC, and heptachlor & heptachlor epoxide showed the best approximation to actual data. It was found that about 7 to 8%, 83 to 88% and 4.9 to 8.7% of the study area were highly, moderately, and lowly susceptible to pesticide pollution in groundwater, respectively. In this study a vulnerability model was developed, which is expressed as follow: V = 0.60CW + 0.10CS + 0.10CR + 0.10CL + 0.10CSL. Its function is to calculate a vulnerability score for a certain area. The factor “V” in the model represents the vulnerability score of a certain area, whereas CW, CS, CR, CL, and CSL represent the values or classes assigned to well depth, soil texture, monthly variance of rainfall, primary land use, and percent slope in that area.
- Water Quality Aspects of an Intermittent Stream and Backwaters in an Urban North Texas Watershed
- Pecan Creek flows southeast through the City of Denton, Texas. Characterized as an urban watershed, the basin covers approximately 63.5 km2. Pecan Creek is an intermittent stream that receives nonpoint runoff from urban landuses, and the City of Denton's wastewater treatment plant, Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant, discharges effluent to the stream. Downstream from the City of Denton and the wastewater treatment plant, Pecan Creek flows about 6,000 m through agricultural, pasture, and forested landscapes into Copas Cove of Lake Lewisville, creating backwater conditions. Pecan Creek water quality and chemistry were monitored from August 1997 to October 2001. Water quality was influenced by seasonal, spatial, climatic, and diurnal dynamics. Wastewater effluent discharged from the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant had the greatest influence on water quality of the stream and backwaters. Water quality monitoring of Pecan Creek demonstrated that dissolved oxygen standards for the protection of aquatic life were being achieved. Water quality modeling of Pecan Creek was completed to assess future increases in effluent flow from the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant. Water quality modeling indicated that dissolved oxygen standards would not be achieved at the future effluent flow of 21 MGD and at NPDES permitted loadings. Model results with application of a safety factor indicated that the maximum allowable concentrations for a 21 MGD discharge would be 2.3 mg/L of ammonia and 7.0 mg/L of biochemical oxygen demand at summer conditions. Drought conditions that occurred from 1998 to 2001 reduced water levels in Lake Lewisville and impacted dissolved oxygen water quality in Pecan Creek. Water quality observations made during the period of drought allowed for the development of a model to estimate the zone of the dissolved oxygen sag in Pecan Creek based on reservoir elevation. Finally, monitoring results were analyzed with nonparametric statistical procedures to detect water quality changes in the backwater area of Pecan Creek, as influenced by storm events.